Crows in a Tree Date 1867 Charles François Daubigny
Public Domain courtesy the Art Institute of Chicago

A Murder of Crows

We amble the harvested fields. The rain has stopped. Water flows gentle rivulets down the ribs of an incline. Awash of seed and insects. A feast we peck as we stroll. Spooked, my comrades take flight. I follow, gaining altitude. The sun rips tears in the clouds as we soar above the patchwork. Stabbing pain enters my flank. Pink mist sprays out my side as my torso’s torn asunder. I can no longer fly. My wings no longer obey. I see my comrades, their bodies rend in halves by some invisible vigor. It is then I recognize the cracks that echo through the sky. We fall. We are not hapless fowl downed by apex predators to feed their brood — no dignified death our fate. We are crows. Shot for sport. Left to rot.


  1. Humans are the worst animal on the planet. We can also be feckn awesome – but interestingly, it’s often in response to the worst we can be. On a more upbeat note, I love that phrase ‘a murder of crows’. I believe it came about in long-ago Britain, when animals were often given a collective noun according to their perceived traits. Whether or not crows deserve the word ‘murder’ as their collective noun, I don’t know, but I still love it 🙂

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    1. By damn, you’re right. It is the worst among us that brings out the feckn best in us. Certainly provides the impetus. And indeed, it is an interesting pondering, this collective noun, a murder of crows. Always brings to mind Edgar Allen Poe’s spectacular work, The Raven — although it was a raven he wrote about, they are both of the genus Corvus. Intelligent, impressive birds.

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  2. This was short but terribly moving. Crows and ravens are among my favorite birds (love them all); but there’s something magical about crows. We have lots of them around here; they even mimic the sounds of woodpeckers. I watched one once way atop a huge tree making those wood clacking sounds with his throat. They’re related to magpies, some of the smartest and most comical birds on the planet. I’ve seen a few crows over the decades who were unable to fly for some reason, calling back & forth to their flock mates. They’ve been gone a bit later on in each case, don’t know what the outcome was, hoped their friends had come to the rescue somehow (but how?). Once at night while walking my dog, I came upon an injured one and shooed him over to the crook of a tree where he’d at least have some cover; he went there and hunkered down. Next day he was gone (no feathers or other signs of attack), but then a crow (him or a flock mate?) flew down to the street near me and was pacing back & forth watching me; I talked to him, said “hello” and some such baby talk, then he cawed and took off again. It was eerie, but I felt good somehow. Maybe just my looniness. Thanks for appreciating them. (If this posts twice, please delete the extra, I goofed.)

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    1. Loony? I think not. Unless it takes one not to know one. I talk animals, I believe they understand, capture the gist at the very least. Doesn’t seem strange to me, at all. Maybe to science who recently acknowledged that animals might experience stress, feel pain. And of course, I’m fond of these highly intelligent crows and ravens as well as vultures, hence the title of this blog.

      In my curiosity of crows and ravens, I discovered they are members of genus Corvus that include rooks and jackdaws. I’ve not ever seen these two birds, don’t believe there are any in the states, but they are equally as raven-ishing.

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      1. Just looked up those two birds; they are raven-ishing. They’re all so shiny jet black. I of course don’t like some of the things they do, but it’s all about survival out there…that’s the way of the animals and they deal with it all as best they can. But when people arrive and blast their lives away, and worse, that’s just the ultimate sin. People can realize that and stop doing those awful things, regretting it all. But then there are those others. Wouldn’t want to be them on Judgment Day.

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